Well after another long weekend of traveling I have another marathon in the books.
Saturday morning I got up and made our every Saturday pancake breakfast, had a cup of coffee, packed up and headed over to pick up Mary Ann. We hit the road around 11:45, had a very uneventful drive (thankfully) to Raleigh, making it to the expo around 3:30.
The expo was less than exciting so we were in and out in about 15 minutes, claiming our shirts, chips and bibs. We headed over to the hotel to check in and relax a little bit before trying to find some dinner. Luckily our hotel was right next to the mall and since neither of us were familiar with the area we took a gamble that it would have some Italian food. This mall ended up being one of the most ridiculous malls I have ever been to. There were about 30 restaurants to choose from and the directory signs were touch screen and interactive. So ridiculous.
After dinner we headed to Gap to get Mary Ann some new tights for the race due to the insanely unpredictable weather for the weekend.
Once we got back to the hotel, we put in a good stretch session and headed to bed early. We both slept great and thanks to the perfectly placed time change woke up pretty well rested. We dressed in many layers, stuffed a bagel in and scavenged for coffee on the way to the race.
Once we finally made it to the start line on NC State’s campus I decided on one final wardrobe change (actually in favor of less clothes which I never do). We made a final drop off at the car, hit the potty and headed to the start.
We ran the first 11 miles just under pace, feeling great, mentally in a great spot. The miles flew by through downtown Raleigh; it was beautiful though a little windy but nothing that made me uncomfortable. My plan in marathons is always to stay right on pace from miles 10-20 then kick in with whatever I have left for the final 10k. In mile 11 I told Mary Ann my philosophy, we agreed to go with it, then immediately started running downhill. This part of the race was on a Greenway where we would go out and back, hence any major downhills were going to become major up hills, in the >20 miles. By mile 16 my calves were trashed from running down hill and already dreading the future waiting for us in a few short miles.
Mary Ann had been hoping to qualify for Boston if possible, but if not just finish since it was her first. We had been on pace until about 16 where I told her I was starting to feel not so stellar and she could go ahead whenever she needed to. She agreed that finishing was the new goal.
We turned around and started heading back, every step bringing us closer to the 21st-24th miles of misery. Once we hit the final brutal climb Mary Ann and I split up, but not enough that we were out of each other’s sight. It is hard to run hills like that any way but what is comfortable for you so I was trying to get to the top then slow down to let her catch up for a little but after doing this a few times I got to the point that I felt like if I slowed down I would stop. So for the remaining 4ish miles we ran together but apart, each looking for each other every few minutes.
I was counting down the end of the trail like it was the end of the race and with two miles to go it wasn’t too far off. No more than 17 minutes left at that point I told myself, no big deal. Eventually those minutes were over and I was able to smile through the finish and collect my medal in time to turn and cheer Mary Ann through her finish 45 seconds later!!
I felt pretty trashed at the end so we walked around for a little, grabbing some snacks and water before heading to the car to hit the road home.
Despite this being the hardest marathon I have ever run we both had a great time and Mary Ann still wants to do another one so mission accomplished! We went 17th and 18th female overall and 3rd and 4th in our age group. Pretty awesome for ridiculous weather conditions and even more ridiculous hills in the worst miles of a race.
In the end, this race goes to you Mary Ann!! I am so honored to have been there through your first. CONGRATS!!